Manna — Part 5: 03/15/2024

Broadcast

                            Manna - Part 5
                            Exodus 16:19-20
                              03/15/2024


        19   And Moses said to them, ``Let no one leave any of
             it over till the morning.''
        20   But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part
             of it till the morning, and it bred worms and
             stank. And Moses was angry with them.  (ESV)

        We pray, ``Give us this day our daily bread.''  In this
   prayer we confess that God will continue to provide for us, even
   if we are not sure of how He will do so.  Did the children of
   Israel trust that God would continue to provide the daily
   nourishment provided by the manna, the ``what is it?'' which they
   gathered each morning?
        And Moses said to them, ``Let no one leave any of it
        over till the morning.''  But they did not listen to
        Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it
        bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them.


        Our first parents doubted God's Word.  The serpent asked
   Eve, ``Did God really say?''  The children of Israel asked, ``Did
   God really mean not to leave any manna for the next day?''  We
   ask, ``Will God continue to provide us with clothing, shoes,
   meat, drink, shelter, and all we need to sustain this life?''

        Therefore we worry, we don't fully trust God, we go against
   His commands because we think we know more than He knows.  It
   always turns out that God's plans, God's will, is best, even if
   we are unsure of the outcome.

        Thus it is with our salvation from sin, death, and the power
   of the devil.  We think we can save ourselves, but God has told
   us there is only one answer to our transgressions.  That answer
   is the cross of Christ Jesus.  If we trust God for our daily
   bread, should we not trust Him for our eternal salvation?

        Please join us on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. at Trinity
   Lutheran Church to learn more of God's rich love, grace, and
   mercy.  May our Lord continue to richly bless you in all things.
   Amen.

Manna — Part 4: 03/14/2024

Broadcast

                            Manna - Part 4
                            Exodus 16:16-18
                              03/14/2024


        16   ``This is what the LORD has commanded: `Gather of
             it, each one of you, as much as he can eat. You
             shall each take an omer, according to the number
             of the persons that each of you has in his
             tent.' ''
        17   And the people of Israel did so. They gathered,
             some more, some less.
        18   But when they measured it with an omer, whoever
             gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever
             gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered
             as much as he could eat.  (ESV)

        In the morning the children of Israel arose to find a fine,
   flake-like thing on the ground.  ``What is it?'' they asked.
        ``This is what the LORD has commanded: `Gather of it,
        each one of you, as much as he can eat. You shall each
        take an omer, according to the number of the persons
        that each of you has in his tent.' '' And the people of
        Israel did so. They gathered, some more, some less.
        But when they measured it with an omer, whoever
        gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever
        gathered little had no lack. Each of them gathered as
        much as he could eat.


        Our Lord provides for our physical and spiritual needs.  He
   works through means.  Yes, the manna could have simply appeared
   in their tents, but by gathering the manna the children of Israel
   showed their faith in God.

        We gather our manna, not by looking for something on the
   ground, but by arising, going to work, and using the talents God
   has given us to earn our daily bread.  That is as much a gift
   from God as the manna outside the camp.  By faith we trust that
   God will continue to provide enough for our needs.

        May our Lord grant us the faith to recognize His love,
   grace, and mercy as He gives to us our daily bread.  Amen.

Manna — Part 3: 03/13/2024

Broadcast

                            Manna - Part 3
                            Exodus 16:13-15
                              03/13/2024


        13   In the evening quail came up and covered the camp,
             and in the morning dew lay around the camp.
        14   And when the dew had gone up, there was on the
             face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing,
             fine as frost on the ground.
        15   When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one
             another, ``What is it?''  For they did not know
             what it was. And Moses said to them, ``It is the
             bread that the LORD has given you to eat.''  (ESV)

        The children of Israel were about to witness a miracle.
   They had complained to Moses and Aaron about the lack of food and
   bread, even as they longed to return to the luxuries they
   remembered in Egypt.  No matter that they were slaves, no matter
   that they were embarking on a journey of promise, they were
   unhappy.

        What did God do to provide?
        In the evening quail came up and covered the camp, and
        in the morning dew lay around the camp.  And when the
        dew had gone up, there was on the face of the
        wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on
        the ground.  When the people of Israel saw it, they
        said to one another, ``What is it?''  For they did not
        know what it was. And Moses said to them, ``It is the
        bread that the LORD has given you to eat.''


        We may not recognize God's rich gifts.  The children of
   Israel called the fine, flake-like thing ``manna,'' literally
   ``what is it?''  For four decades they ate ``what is it?'' in the
   wilderness.  Maybe they did not recognize the substance, but it
   was God's gift to sustain them.

        Do we always recognize God's rich blessings?  How often do
   we say, ``what is it?'' and look past that which He gives.  When
   our eyes are blinded by the expectations of this world, do we
   look past the cross of Jesus asking, ``How is that a blessing to
   me?''  Yet God comes to us in unexpected and miraculous ways,
   ways that make us ask, ``What is it?''  It is His love in action.

        May our Lord help us to see His grace, love, and mercy so
   that we may receive His rich blessings with thanksgiving.  Amen.

Manna — Part 2: 03/12/2024

Broadcast

                            Manna - Part 2
                             Exodus 16:4-5
                              03/12/2024


        4    Then the LORD said to Moses, ``Behold, I am about
             to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people
             shall go out and gather a day's portion every day,
             that I may test them, whether they will walk in my
             law or not.
        5    On the sixth day, when they prepare what they
             bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather
             daily.''  (ESV)

        God heard the grumbling of the children of Israel.  He knew
   of their dissatisfaction, their desire to abandon the path which
   led from slavery to freedom.  The lure of the present, even if it
   meant living as a slave, was greater than the promise of the
   future.

        Yet God, in His mercy, did not punish them for their
   discontent.  Rather, He used their discontent to show His love,
   grace, and mercy.
        Then the LORD said to Moses, ``Behold, I am about to
        rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go
        out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may
        test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.  On
        the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it
        will be twice as much as they gather daily.''


        And so it was that God prepared an answer to their prayer.
   Even as the children of Israel complained, even as they doubted
   God's love, He provided for them.  Yes, this was a testing of
   their faith, an opportunity for them to grow in their trust in
   God.

        We may not be in the wastelands of the desert east of the
   Red Sea, but we still are beset with problems and concerns.
   Either we can complain, or we can trust in God to provide, even
   if we do not understand how He will sustain us.  His plans for
   us, His deliverance from our physical and spiritual problems, are
   always astounding.

        May our Lord grant us wisdom to trust in Him above all
   things.  Amen.

Manna — Part 1: 03/11/2024

Broadcast

                            Manna - Part 1
                             Exodus 16:2-3
                              03/11/2024


        2    And the whole congregation of the people of Israel
             grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the
             wilderness,
        3    and the people of Israel said to them, ``Would
             that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the
             land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and
             ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out
             into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly
             with hunger.''  (ESV)

        Six weeks after the children of Israel left Egypt, shortly
   after crossing the Red Sea, the people became dissatisfied.
        And the whole congregation of the people of Israel
        grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and
        the people of Israel said to them, ``Would that we had
        died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when
        we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for
        you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill
        this whole assembly with hunger.''


        Would God sustain them during their journey to the land once
   promised to their forefather Abraham?  Did they have faith in
   God, or did they doubt His mercy?

        Like the children of Israel, we look at the difficulties of
   the journey and doubt that God truly loves us.  After all, at one
   point, even though slaves to sin, we were comfortable.  Now,
   having left the comfort of our rebellious lives behind, we
   grumble at the hardships of our journey of faith.

        Some people want to simply give up and go back to slavery.
   After all, what we had seemed better than what we have now, even
   if we had no freedom or hope.  As we live for the moment rather
   than living with our eyes on Christ, we certainly will complain
   about the problems of this life.

        This week we will look at God feeding and sustaining His
   people in the wilderness.  In the same way He fed Israel, God
   gives us the fullness of His physical and spiritual blessings.

        May our Lord grant us faith to hold firmly to Him, to trust
   Him for all we need to sustain this body and life.  Amen.

Lessons for Today — Part 5: 03/08/2024

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                      Lessons for Today - Part 5
                              Exodus 8:24
                              03/08/2024


        24   And the LORD did so. There came great swarms of
             flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his
             servants' houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt
             the land was ruined by the swarms of flies.  (ESV)

        When our Lord speaks, all of creation listens.  His Word
   does what He says.  He spoke, and all things were made.  He
   promised Adam and Eve a Savior who would redeem them from sin and
   death, and Christ Jesus was born.  He promises us the same
   forgiveness, and you hear the good news that Jesus Christ died
   for your sins, and rose again to show His victory over death and
   the grave.

        God, speaking through Moses and Aaron, told Pharaoh that
   flies would destroy the land.  ``And the LORD did so. There came
   great swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his
   servants' houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt the land was
   ruined by the swarms of flies.''

        May our Lord preserve us from such calamities as befell the
   Egyptians.  He uses tragedies to call us to repent of our sin, to
   turn to Him, to acknowledge that we cannot, by our own reason or
   strength, control those things which are in His power alone.  We
   also acknowledge that suffering, as we hold to God's promises,
   increases and strengthens our faith.  Finally, it reminds us that
   Jesus Christ suffered the punishments of hell on our behalf so
   that we can experience the joys of heaven.

        Please join us on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. at Trinity
   Lutheran Church to learn more of God's love as found in Jesus
   Christ.  Amen.

Lessons for Today — Part 4: 03/07/2024

Broadcast

                      Lessons for Today - Part 4
                            Exodus 8:20-24
                              03/07/2024


        20   Then the LORD said to Moses, ``Rise up early in
             the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh, as he
             goes out to the water, and say to him, `Thus says
             the LORD, ``Let my people go, that they may serve
             me.
        21   Or else, if you will not let my people go, behold,
             I will send swarms of flies on you and your
             servants and your people, and into your houses.
             And the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled
             with swarms of flies, and also the ground on which
             they stand.
        22   But on that day I will set apart the land of
             Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms
             of flies shall be there, that you may know that I
             am the LORD in the midst of the earth.
        23   Thus I will put a division between my people and
             your people. Tomorrow this sign shall
             happen.'' ' ''
        24   And the LORD did so. There came great swarms of
             flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his
             servants' houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt
             the land was ruined by the swarms of flies.  (ESV)

        In the fourth plague, God set His chosen people apart from
   the Egyptians.
        Then the LORD said to Moses, ``Rise up early in the
        morning and present yourself to Pharaoh, as he goes out
        to the water, and say to him, `Thus says the LORD,
        ``Let my people go, that they may serve me.  Or else,
        if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send
        swarms of flies on you and your servants and your
        people, and into your houses. And the houses of the
        Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies, and
        also the ground on which they stand.  But on that day I
        will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people
        dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that
        you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the
        earth.  Thus I will put a division between my people
        and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall
        happen.'' ' '' And the LORD did so. There came great
        swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh and into his
        servants' houses. Throughout all the land of Egypt the
        land was ruined by the swarms of flies.


        Are Christians always exempt from the tragedies which
   afflict the world?  Of course not.  But, living by trusting in
   God's promises, Christians are often able to overcome the
   problems and difficulties in ways those who reject God cannot.
   We have the sure and certain hope of God's rich grace, that He
   fulfills His promises even when all seems hopeless.

        May our Lord grant us faith that we trust in Him always,
   that we call upon Him in the day of trouble.  Amen.

Lessons for Today — Part 3: 03/06/2024

Broadcast

                      Lessons for Today - Part 3
                              Exodus 8:19
                              03/06/2024


        19   Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, ``This is the
             finger of God.''  But Pharaoh's heart was
             hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the
             LORD had said.  (ESV)

        One of the constant themes in the story of the Ten Plagues
   as recorded in Exodus is Pharaoh's hardened heart.
        Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, ``This is the
        finger of God.''  But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and
        he would not listen to them, as the LORD had said.


        The LORD does not cause some people to reject His grace,
   love, and mercy, but He allows them to have their desires.
   Pharaoh, like many people today, simply had no desire to
   acknowledge God's power and majesty, in spite of the evidence.
   His trusted advisors, the scientists of the day, confessed that
   they were powerless to do the works which God performed.

        Today, where the First Amendment promises the freedom of
   religion, that freedom is narrowly defined as the ability to
   worship as you please.  But you cannot bring your religion into
   the workplace, as we have seen as various merchants and artists
   are sued for refusing to go against their convictions concerning
   marriage.  What good is religious freedom if you cannot live
   according to your beliefs?

        Science and academia will not even allow the idea of
   intelligent design, of traditional marriage, and a higher power
   to be discussed.  The basics of religion are not only ridiculed,
   they are suppressed.  Can we not debate the ideas which go
   against the modern narrative?  That is the same hardness of heart
   expressed by Pharaoh.

        We believe, teach, and confess that all who are redeemed
   from sin and death by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
   are given that salvation only by God's work.  We also confess
   that all who are condemned are condemned because they rejected
   God's gift of forgiveness.

        May our Lord grant us hearts willing to hear and trust in
   Him alone.  Amen.

Lessons for Today — Part 2: 03/05/2024

Broadcast

                      Lessons for Today - Part 2
                            Exodus 8:16-19
                              03/05/2024


        16   Then the LORD said to Moses, ``Say to Aaron,
             `Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the
             earth, so that it may become gnats in all the land
             of Egypt.'''
        17   And they did so. Aaron stretched out his hand with
             his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and
             there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of
             the earth became gnats in all the land of Egypt.
        18   The magicians tried by their secret arts to
             produce gnats, but they could not.  So there were
             gnats on man and beast.
        19   Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, ``This is the
             finger of God.''  But Pharaoh's heart was
             hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the
             LORD had said.  (ESV)

        We find recorded in Exodus:
        Then the LORD said to Moses, ``Say to Aaron, `Stretch
        out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so
        that it may become gnats in all the land of Egypt.'''
        And they did so. Aaron stretched out his hand with his
        staff and struck the dust of the earth, and there were
        gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth
        became gnats in all the land of Egypt.  The magicians
        tried by their secret arts to produce gnats, but they
        could not.  So there were gnats on man and beast.  Then
        the magicians said to Pharaoh, ``This is the finger of
        God.''  But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would
        not listen to them, as the LORD had said.


        The plagues inflicted on Egypt before the Passover had two
   purposes.  First, the plagues showed the children of Israel that
   God was in their midst and desired to deliver them from slavery.
   He would act with power to bring them back to the land once
   promised to their father Abraham.  Second, the plagues showed the
   Egyptians that He is the one true God, that their pantheon of
   deities were of no avail.

        Egyptian magicians were able to produce the same effects of
   the first two plagues.  When the water of the Nile River turned
   into blood, the Egyptian magicians did the same through their
   secret arts.  So too, the magicians were able to bring frogs up
   from the water, the second plague.

        The lesson for today, although we may seem to have power
   over nature, yet that power is limited.  God, who created the
   heavens and the earth, can and does those things at which we can
   only marvel, including creating and sustaining life.

        May we have the wisdom to acknowledge that God has power
   over all things.  Amen.

Lessons for Today — Part 1: 03/04/2024

Broadcast

                      Lessons for Today - Part 1
                            Exodus 8:16-17
                              03/04/2024


        16   Then the LORD said to Moses, ``Say to Aaron,
             `Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the
             earth, so that it may become gnats in all the land
             of Egypt.'''
        17   And they did so. Aaron stretched out his hand with
             his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and
             there were gnats on man and beast. All the dust of
             the earth became gnats in all the land of Egypt.
             (ESV)

        The historic Collect for the Word says:
        Blessed Lord, who hast caused all Holy Scriptures to be
        written for our learning, grant that we may in such
        wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest
        them, that by patience and comfort of Thy holy Word we
        may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of
        everlasting life, which Thou hast given us in our
        Savior Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with Thee
        and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.[1]


        What do we learn from the Old Testament lesson for the Third
   Sunday in Lent?  This is the account of the third and fourth
   plagues which struck Egypt before Pharaoh let the children of
   Israel leave the land.  Is this merely history, or can we draw a
   lesson for today from this account?

        We know that the entire Passover account, including the ten
   plagues, point us to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of
   the world.  Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Passover, as
   John the Baptizer confessed.  Pharaoh's reaction to the plagues
   certainly give us a reason to pause, to consider how God is
   greater than all of our human powers.

        Then the LORD said to Moses, ``Say to Aaron, `Stretch
        out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so
        that it may become gnats in all the land of Egypt.'''
        And they did so. Aaron stretched out his hand with his
        staff and struck the dust of the earth, and there were
        gnats on man and beast. All the dust of the earth
        became gnats in all the land of Egypt.


        May our Lord grant you His richest blessings as we learn of
   His love, grace, and mercy.  Amen.




   ____________________

   1. The Lutheran Hymnal, p. 14